Mathematical Programming Computation, Volume 4, Number 1, March 2012

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Fast Fourier optimization

Robert J. Vanderbei

Abstract


Many interesting and fundamentally practical optimization  problems, ranging from optics, to signal processing, to radar and acoustics, involve constraints on the Fourier transform of a function. It is well-known that the fast Fourier transform (fft) is a recursive algorithm that can dramatically improve the efficiency for computing the discrete Fourier transform. However, because it is recursive, it is difficult to embed into a linear optimization problem. In this paper, we explain the main idea behind the fast Fourier transform and show how to adapt it in such a manner as to make it encodable as constraints in an optimization problem. We demonstrate a realworld problem from the field of high-contrast imaging. On this problem, dramatic improvements are translated to an ability to solve problems with a much finer grid of discretized points. As we shall show, in general, the “fast Fourier” version of the optimization constraints produces a larger but sparser constraint matrix and therefore one can think of the fast Fourier transform as a method of sparsifying the constraints in an optimization problem, which is usually a good thing.

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